What's On

Matt Abbott’s Spoken World


As we hurtle through the month of April, all eyes in the N&T camp are fixed firmly on next month’s ‘Summer of LOVEwire’ tour, which we’re using to launch the 2LP gatefold vinyl release of Salena Godden’s LIVEwire album. We’re doing shows in Norwich, Peterborough, Chelmsford, Soho, Manchester, Leeds, and Derby, and you can access information and ticket links here.

The LIVEwire campaign received a huge boost when the album was shortlisted for The Poetry Society’s prestigious Ted Hughes Award for New Work in Poetry, and huge congratulations go to Hollie McNish for winning the prize with her Nobody Told Me book. Salena has also been shortlisted for this year’s Saboteur Awards, this time in the Best Spoken Word Performer. You can vote in the awards here.

Ahead of the Ted Hughes announcement, Salena wrote this ‘How I Did It’ piece for The Poetry School. Also, the Special Edition CD and zine edition of LIVEwire are now available here, with the 2LP gatefold vinyl also available to pre-order ahead of its release on 12 May. We’ve also released a Bonus Edition of Toria Garbutt’s Hot Plastic Moon album as she tours the UK with Dr John Cooper Clarke, and issue 4 of our quarterly SOAPBOX zine is also available to purchase.

On the UK’s live scene, Sabotage Reviews had these words to say about Verve Poetry Festival, and Croydon’s Reverb night is gaining a lot of attention. Francesca Beard is inviting people to donate lies for her new Post-Truth Apocalypse project, and according to The Guardian, sell-out spoken word festivals are a strong indication of poetry’s renaissance.


Hussain Manawer

Release-wise, Hussain Manawer dropped his ‘I’m Ashamed’ single; Geneviève L. Walsh has released her début collection ‘The Dance of a Thousand Losers’; and Maria Ferguson has released ‘Fat Girls Don’t Dance’, following the frenzy that surrounded her live show of the same name. There’s also a new collection from punk poet Attila the Stockbroker. Away from releases, Brixton-based charity Poetic Unity have been in the media a lot recently, including this appearance on London Live; and Loud Poets are crowdfunding for spoken word videos.

Across the pond, Chapman Feminists organised this spoken word event to “voice the voiceless”; California-based rapper dylAn discusses how poetry kickstarted his writing career; and US Poet Laureate Juan Felipe Herrera emphasises the importance of poetry in socially difficult times. Also, according to The Guardian, poetry is “the perfect weapon to fight Donald Trump”, so that’s at least worth bearing in mind.

Elsewhere in global news, Mumbai-based poet Aranya Johar went viral with this poem on gender discrimination; young poets are using poetry to tackle state censorship in Sudan; Nigerian poet Oluwa Olamiposi Omoyele has been in the spotlight; a group of teenage spoken word artists in Ireland spoke with Róisín Ingle; this Australian review of Kate Tempest presented an interesting contextual slant; and many poetry fans mourned the death of the iconic Derek Walcott.


Derek Walcott

There’ve been some fantastic features and articles recently. i-D looked at “the rise of the female Insta poet”; Bridget Minamore selected nine dynamic teenage spoken word artists in London; a group of poets found “brutal inspiration” in Coventry’s ring road; and The Georgetown Voice looked at the relationship between the Bebops and the Beats in 1950s New York.

Melissa Lee-Houghton hosted this episode of the Lunar Poetry Podcast; Cecilia Knapp blogged for Apples & Snakes following her Spine Festival residency; Caleb Femi gave some page poetry tips for Spread The Word; and The Times hailed the “pop poets” that are “beating the drum for a new generation”. Following the death of Derek Walcott and Chuck Berry on the same weekend, The Guardian produced this excellent piece on the relationship between poetry and music, and Brain Pickings gave us this interview with Patti Smith, on poetry’s central role within her creative process.

So that’s it for this month’s round-up. See you next month, and thanks as always for reading! See below my pick for video of the month, Rachel Nwokoro’s The Semi Colon Project, and the upcoming spoken word events to look out for.


Filed under: Written & Spoken Word